Thursday, June 25, 2015

June Wrap Up

June was fun, man. June was really fun, except I didn't get a lot of reading done. It's probably because I went ahead and bought all three seasons of Avatar the Last Airbender, and now I can't stop binge watching like it's my job or something. Yeah, that's the reason reading kind of took a backseat this month. I would apologize, but I'm not really sorry! Hey, the stories in Avatar are so complex and should totally count as reading, right?

Here's what I read in June:

-Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot- 5 stars

"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first adult installment, which follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding—but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia's gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn't need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.

But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother's leaked "fake" wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia's father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone—especially herself—that she's not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?"

-The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau- 3 stars

"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one and the same? 

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career. 

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one. 

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust."

-Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover- 5 stars

"When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly."

-Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (book two in the Raised by Wolves series)- 4 stars

"There can only be one alpha. 

Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.

But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were.  With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.

Bryn faces both the costs, and the rewards, of love and loyalty, in this thrilling sequel to Raised by Wolves."

-Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs- 4 stars

"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography,Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows."
These five books put me at 37 books read this year, which is 49% of the way to my goal of 75. At this rate, according to GoodReads, I'm right on track to completing my goal this year! Whoohoo!What books did you read this month?


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Author Spotlight: Meg Cabot

Author: Meg Cabot

Books: The Princess Diaries series, The Mediator series, The Heather Wells series, The Queen of Babble series, etc.

My favorite: It's practically impossible to chose from any of Meg's books, but I'm going to go with the ones that I think are underrated: Avalon High, Jinx, and How to be Popular (that was my very first Meg Cabot book, actually)

Fun Fact: Meg wrote Ransom My Heart as Princess Mia! In The Princess Diaries series, Mia publishes an adult historical book and in our world, it actually exists. 

Story time: Meg Cabot is my number one writing role model. I mean, I could go on and on about how much she's inspired me to read and write, but that stuff's kind of boring. Fact is, I really look up to her and always have. So, after years of wanting to meet her and never getting the chance, fate seemed to be on my side. She was going to be at the RT Booklover's Convention in Dallas and so was I! There was this cool little event that they planned that was an engagement party for Mia and Michael (the couple from Princess Diaries). I had heard before that they were going to limit the number of people let into the event so I got in line as soon as I possibly could. Walking through the doors, nothing could have prepared me for that moment. The room was decorated inTiffany blue and silver--matching the cover of The Royal Wedding perfectly. There was a table of cake pops and popcorn, and a cash bar that served champagne. Best of all, there in the middle of the room stood Meg Cabot. Woah. We got to talk to her about her books and inspirations, and laughed at her crazy stories and it was so amazing. Then, I got to personally talk to her for a bit while she signed my book. Yeah, I was star struck and embarrassing. I said something along the lines of "I feel a kindred spirit-ship to Mia because we have the same birthday and are/were vegetarians". Facepalm moment. Then, we selfied because we're cool like that. 

I know they say never to meet your idols because they'll disappoint you, but I'm so glad that my experience was the opposite of that. Meg was a sweetheart and so much fun to talk to. This was such an amazing opportunity and it was everything I wanted it to be and more. Also, did I mention there were tiaras everywhere?! 


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Change is a Comin'

"LeFou, I'm afraid I've been thinking. A dangerous pastime. I know."

So I've been doing some thinking lately, well, a lot of thinking and I have some bittersweet news to share with you guys. I'm going to stop writing book reviews and posting them on this blog. It sucks, and I'm sad about it, but I wouldn't do it if I didn't have my reasons. And I have my reasons.

The biggest reason being that I unfortunately can't keep up with writing reviews anymore. As much as I've loved doing this, it's beginning to stress me out because I'm trying to read as quickly as I can and it's starting to ruin the whole reading experience for me. I'm finding I'm not reading for pleasure anymore and that makes me sad. With life being so busy, I don't have a lot of time dedicated strictly to reading, and I don't want to rush a good story.

I sincerely hope you guys can understand. Especially since I have no plans of shutting down this blog at all--if anything, it's going to undergo a content makeover. It's kind of exciting, actually! This is still going to be a book blog, I'm just going to post different bookish things. Here are some of the things I'm hoping to post: author spotlights, posts about my visits to local bookstores when I travel, character and theme analysis', monthly reading round-ups (with a companion BookTube video maybe), etc. And I still promise to post every Thursday, so really, not a lot is changing even though *everything* is changing!

I've had a blast running this blog, and I can't wait for its future. I can't wait to bring new posts to you guys, and I appreciate all the love you've given me. Seriously, my readers are the best. If any of you guys have any type of post you'd like to see on my blog, please let me know--I'd love to hear your ideas and give you content you actually want to read!

Thanks for your love, support, and brilliance,


Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Wondrous and the Wicked by Page Morgan

(4/5 stars)

"The Waverly sisters must save themselves before all is lost.

Since the Waverlys arrived in Paris, the streets have grown more fearsome by the day. As Ingrid learns to master her lectrux gift, she must watch Axia's power grow strong enough to extend beyond her Underneath hive. By all indications, the fallen angel's Harvest is near-and the timing couldn't be worse.

Targeted by vengeful gargoyles, Gabby has been exiled to London for her own protection. Meanwhile, the gargoyle castes are in disarray, divided between those who want Luc to lead them and those who resent him and his fondness for humans. The Alliance is crumbling from the inside as well, its members turning against one another, and possibly against the Waverlys, too.

Axia has promised that the world will burn. And now, unable to trust the Alliance, separated from Luc, Gabby, and her twin, Grayson, Ingrid is left to face the demon uprising alone."

You guys remember my reviews of The Beautiful and the Cursed and The Lovely and the Lost, right? So it seems that with every book in this series, I like the story more and more. I really liked this one, guys. It was a great finale to the trilogy and I'm glad I kept reading.

What I liked: Two things that I've repeated with its predecessors. 1) This series has become its own beast and has broken away from all the other things I kept comparing it to in my brain. 2) I still want more gargoyle books. There's gotta be a market for it, and somebody's gotta write them! Now onto the new stuff. The ending was an epic battle and made me like Ingrid for like twenty pages--small victories. Mostly, I still love this dark and dangerous world that feels so much like our own but with some paranormal twists. I'm glad that their mother gets semi-involved, especially towards the end, and I loved seeing how much she stuck up for them and didn't dismiss any of their crazy ideas. Supportive parents are always a pleasure to read about. Gabby is still my forever favorite and her relationship with Nolan is swoon worthy. Seriously. She's also become such a fighter, and her character development is off the charts. I loved seeing scenes in Grayson's point of view because they're so rare but so interesting. He doesn't ever feel fully human to me, even in this one, and it's a refreshing glimpse at the situation through his eyes. I also liked Luc's fate at the end. He kinda grew on me through this book and I found myself weirdly rooting for him and Ingrid. 

What I didn't like: I still didn't care for Ingrid's little love triangle. It still felt forced and I didn't believe she believed she had enough grounds to reject anybody. Because, when the time came for her to say no to so-and-so (no spoilers), she still told him she loved him. It all felt fake to me. It could all come down to the fact that I can't stand Ingrid as a character. I don't see her develop and she stayed super weak and passive for 90% of the book. She was only super cool in the last 20-30 pages and that was only because something big happened to push her that way. I guess I just find Ingrid too naive. She's always walking into a trap or getting herself caught because she thinks she knows exactly what she's doing--or because she's not thinking at all. It's hard to read a series and not like the main character. 

All in all, I'm glad I gave this series a chance because in the end, the positives outweighed the negatives. It was worth the read and had that 'something different'.